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Monday, January 9, 2012

Fisking Rick Santorum's Remarks on Gay Rights at the New Hampshire GOP Debate on Saturday Night

Posted by on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Santorum was asked if he would be speak out for gay rights in the GOP. After the audience finished laughing, Santorum responded...

SANTORUM: I would be a voice in speaking out for making sure that every person in America, gay or straight, is treated with respect and dignity and has equality of opportunity. That does not mean that I would agree with certain things that the gay community would like to do to change laws, with respect to marriage or respect to adoption, and things like that.

Nothing says "respect and dignity" like comparing people in loving, consensual, same-sex relationships to dog fuckers and child rapists. If that's how Rick Santorum defines "respect," I'd rather be dissed, thanks. And contrary to efforts to tolerance-wash Santorum's position on gay rights and wish away his infamous 2003 interview with the AP, Rick Santorum hasn't changed his position on gay rights or the dignity of gay people in the eight years since that interview. Santorum has not gone soft (not even runny) on gay rights, says TPM: "Santorum’s famous 2003 'man on dog' comment, which still follows him to this day every time someone Googles his name, wasn’t made while just discussing gay marriage. He was also arguing that people of the same sex shouldn’t have the right to be physically intimate in their own homes....There’s nothing to suggest Santorum has changed his tune there. In fact, he’s still using anti-sodomy laws as a wedge issue, this time against his fellow Republican candidates instead of Democrats."

Rick Santorum respectfully suggests that states should be allowed to arrest, prosecute, and imprison gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Just in a dignified way. And if Rick Santorum had his way everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, would enjoy an equal opportunity to be arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned for engaging in homosexual acts. The completely heterosexual Ted Haggard would go to jail just the same as the completely homosexual Neil Patrick Harris. Equality under the law! God bless America!

As for who wants to change laws: Rick Santorum supports efforts to change the marriage laws as they currently exist in New Hampshire, where same-sex marriage is legal, and he wants to change marriage laws in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, and the District of Columbia. Santorum also wants to change adoption laws: it is currently legal in almost all US states for gays and lesbians to adopt children. Adoption laws vary from state to state, and there are unique legal hurdles in many that gay couples have to jump through, but adoptions by gay and lesbian individuals and couples is only illegal in four US states. Rick Santorum wants to change that—even if it means harming children. From a must-read post by Joel Mathis at the Philly Post:

Talk to adoption experts about gay parents, and you’ll hear a frequent refrain: While many—even most—prospective parents are looking for “healthy white babies” to adopt, it is gay couples who most often take the children no one else wants: Children with disabilities. Older children. Children with problems. “Overall,” one 2001 study found, “gay men and lesbians are more willing to consider and accept children with a broader range of difficulties.” More recent numbers affirm that observation. A 2007 study by the Urban Institute drew on Census numbers to suggest that 21 percent of children adopted by gay men have a physical disability—compared to 2 percent of children adopted by the population at large. That’s an astonishing gap. And an October report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute showed that more than 10 percent of children adopted by gays and lesbians are 6 years or older—”a population,” researchers noted, “generally perceived as more difficult to place.” Half the adoptees had spent time in foster care.

In other words: Gay and lesbian parents are doing damned hard work, providing loving homes to kids that few other people seem to want. They’re doing those kids—and society—a tremendous service. But you don’t hear even the tiniest acknowledgement of that from Rick Santorum.

Changing the law to ban adoptions by same-sex couples—despite a mountain of evidence proving that we are just as fit to parent as heterosexuals—would result in more kids languishing forever in the cruel limbo of foster care. Santorum's election would, writes Mathis, "[harm] tens of thousands of children hoping for a home of their own. But it would be quite a boon for orphanages."

SANTORUM: So you can be respectful. This is the beautiful thing about this country. James Madison called the First Amendment—he called it the perfect remedy. And that is, people of all different backgrounds—diversity, opinions, faith—can come into the public square and can be heard and can be heard in a way that’s respectful of everybody else.

R E S P E C T: You gay people are like dog fuckers and child rapists—but, hey, I say that with the utmost respect! It's not like I have anything against people who fuck dogs and rape kids!

SANTORUM:But just because you don’t agree with someone’s desire to change the law doesn’t mean you don’t like them or you hate them or you want to discriminate against them, but you’re trying to promote —excuse me, promote things that you think are best for society.

Again, Rick Santorum, is the one who wants to change laws.

Santorum wants to change the law in the six states and District of Columbia where same-sex marriage is legal, and he wants to change the adoptions laws in the 46 states where gays and lesbians can legally adopt children. (And bigots? Banning adoptions by same-sex couples would not put a stop to gay parenting. We know how to make babies, we have the technology, gay men and lesbians can and will knock each other up.) Rick Santorum wants to amend the U.S. Constitution, if necessary, to change those laws. He wants to overrule state legislatures and state courts, and one set of rules on all 50 states: no legal protections whatsoever for same-sex couples—not domestic partnership, not civil unions, not marriage—and no adoptions by same-sex couples.

And he would like us to believe that banning gay marriage and making it illegal for us to adopt somehow doesn't amount to discriminating against gays and lesbians. That's not his goal, Rick claims. All just wants to promote what he thinks is "best for society." And if same-sex couples have to be discriminated against to promote that, well, that's just tough shit-and-lube. To find out what Rick Santorum's desire to promote what he thinks is "best for society" at the expense of same-sex couples looks like in practice, go read this. What it looks like is a woman having her loved ones—her spouse and her children—barred from her hospital room as she lay dying because there are bigoted assholes out are convinced that treating a gay family with dignity and respect—treating a gay family like any other family—isn't what's "best for society."

HILLER: What if you had a son who came to you and said he was gay?

SANTORUM: I would love him as much as I did the second before he said it. And I would try to do everything I can to be as good a father to him as possible.

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeello, national press! This is a statement that requires some followup questioning!

What exactly does Rick Santorum mean when he says he would love his gay son—and let's all cross our fingers and hope that one (or more!) of Santorum's kids is gay—and what exactly does the candidate mean when he says he would "do everything [he] can to be as good a father to him as possible"? Ask Rick to elaborate on this point. Because religious conservatives have a very different ideas about "loving" their gay children. Rightwing Christian groups advise the parents of LBGT children to reject their gay children, to be actively hostile, to "love the sinner, hate the sin," to withhold approval, to refuse to meet the partners of their gay children, to refuse to attend their gay children's weddings, etc. And these Christian groups tell the parents of gay children that hostility, rejection, disapproval are the how they best express their "love" for their gay children.

It's also the best way to double an already quadrupled risk of suicide:

Young gay people whose parents or guardians responded negatively when they revealed their sexual orientation were more likely to attempt suicide, experience severe depression and use drugs than those whose families accepted the news, a new study says.... The study showed that teens who experienced negative feedback were more than eight times as likely to have attempted suicide, nearly six times as vulnerable to severe depression and more than three times at risk of drug use.

So what did Rick Santorum mean when he said he'd love his gay son and be a good father to him? Truly love and accept him and support his gay child? That would require Rick Santorum to reject Rick Santorum's positions on gay rights. Was that what Santorum meant? Or does Rick Santorum think that parents can best express their love and support for their gay children by turning them into the authorities and seeing them prosecuted and imprisoned for being gay? Or by merely upping their chances of suicide, drug addiction, and depression?


Comments (33) RSS

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very bad homo 1
I'm pretty sure he will be out of the race soon - but keep up with these posts. People need to understand just how dangerous his kind is.
Posted by very bad homo on January 9, 2012 at 11:21 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 2
I agree with everything you say, but it seems like you went to a lot of work over a man who won't win the GOP nomination and represents an ever-shrinking cross section of the American electorate and society as a whole. I suppose we shouldn't let our guard down or do any victory laps yet, but in this case we probably can wait until he at least makes another significant showing before treating him seriously.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 9, 2012 at 11:22 AM · Report this
HelpMeJebus 3
Every time you type Rick Santorum's name, you should link it to

Perhaps the tech-savvy at-risk youth in The Stranger's IT dept. could add a filter to Movable Type that automagically converts "Santorum" to a link to the site?
Posted by HelpMeJebus on January 9, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
I would make sure that all Americans are treated equally and treated with respect and dignity.

That doesn't mean that anyone I don't like won't be murdered and thrown in an incinerator. But I will make sure their ashes go into a nice looking urn.
Posted by Dave M on January 9, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
I am interested to know just what sex acts are deemed appropriate by Rick Santorum. Can the woman actually touch the penis? What about oral sex? What about the use of Viagra? Would porn become illegal? In the course of straight sex, to what degree would incidental contact male penis-to-female ass constitute dangerous society degenerating anal sex? How would violations of sex laws be reported? Has Rick Santorum ever touched his wife's ass? Does he have stipulations one how to address ejaculate clean up? If he wants to mandate the details of people's sex lives - people should start asking him the explicit details. Also regarding abortion should people be forced to have sex on a government mandated timeline to maximize the possibility for sperm-egg encounters? Isn't sex not had virtually a preemptive abortion?
Posted by BellT on January 9, 2012 at 11:40 AM · Report this
Posting about Rick is therapy for Danny.
It will have to do until he can WHIP UP SOME SANTORUM IN SANTORUM (do you see what Danny did there?...)
Posted by practice Danny- Mrs Danny Santorum....a boy can dream on January 9, 2012 at 12:06 PM · Report this
@3 And when you do link to it, consider tagging the link with something to push up more specific searches such as, for example, the Official Rick Santorum Website.

I'm not 100% certain (or even 25% certain, for that matter) how search engine optimization works, but it would be cool if whenever anyone enters Official Rick Santorum Website in their favorite search engine, they get the santorum website as a top hit.

Posted by Brooklyn Reader on January 9, 2012 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Nothing says "respect and dignity" like infecting your partner with AIDS.
Posted by ....just saying, bro' on January 9, 2012 at 12:09 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 9
@3 - See, that's a really good idea. I, for one, had never heard of Rick Santorum, so when you mentioned Rick Santorum, I clicked through on the link and learned more about former Senator Rick Santorum. Now I know who Rick Santorum is, and I think if every time Rick Santorum's name appears, in part or in whole (hehe, hole), the link appeared that leads to more information about Rick Santorum, more people would know these important facts about Rick Santorum.
Posted by MacCrocodile on January 9, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
@5 Excellent comment. Please register so more people will see you. Many of us have turned off the anonymous postings in our comment viewers, due to the troll infestation. I only sample anonymous postings randomly, to see if the pins I'm pushing into my troll doll are doing any good yet. I was glad to see your post by accident.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on January 9, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
Well, Santorum is a devout Catholic, so I expect he means he'd encourage his gay son to enter the priesthood, take a vow of celibacy, and spend the rest of his life telling other people that being gay is wrong.
Posted by Proteus on January 9, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
Well clearly if you believe that gay people are going to burn in hell then the only way to show true love and respect to your gay son would be to convert him. No matter how much money and how many years it takes he must be ungayed. If you truly love your son then you have no choice than to force him through years of painful ex-gay therapy to push him so deep in the closet that god won't know he's gay when he shows up at the pearly gates.
Posted by Root on January 9, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
Santorum's hypothetical "I'd continue to love my gay son" comment struck me as...well, frankly it struck me as just so much santorum, and it irritates the hell out of me that sites like "The Daily Beast" laud it as him acing the question. "I love you, son, and to show it, I want to make sure you can never marry the partner of your choice, and I want to see your sex life criminalized, and I want to make sure you can never be a parent, and this is all because I love you, but it's not discrimination, because I think it ought to be illegal for your straight sister to give a blowjob, too." Thanks, Dan, for continuing to shed light on this cockroach of a candidate.
Posted by Clayton on January 9, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
@#11 - good one!
Posted by tniel on January 9, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
Santorum loves child molesters:
"Santorum, who has cultivated an image as a clean-cut social conservative trumpeting family values, nominated Sandusky for a “Congressional Angels in Adoption Award,” after Sandusky had already been accused of at least five cases of child molestation."…
Posted by Spindles on January 9, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
OMG Danny- have you seen THIS on abc news?!

"Last week, President Obama’s Justice Department filed a legal brief against same sex marriage in which it compared gay unions to incestuous ones and that of an underage girl – in the sense that states have the right to not recognize marriages that are legal in other states or countries.
The timing of the brief, which the president of the leading gay and lesbian rights organization said caused his community “pain,” is awkward, given that next Thursday, June 25, the Democratic National Committee is hitting up the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community for cash in a fundraiser featuring Vice President Biden.
As John Aravosis at AmericaBlog reports, gay donors, outraged at the legal brief, are withdrawing their support from the event.
The treasurer of the DNC, Andrew Tobias, finds himself distancing himself from the brief, as Ben Smith of Politico reports.
"If this debacle of a brief represented the president's views, I'd boycott too," Tobias said in an e-mail. But Tobias insisted that he “personally totally believe(s) in the president.”
David Mixner, a former adviser to President Clinton, is not so sold, writing that the brief is a “sickening document” that “could have been written by the Rev. Pat Robertson. Using the worst of stereotypes, it intimates that we don't have constitutional guarantees, invokes scenarios of incest, of children and advocates that we don't have the same rights as others who have struggled for civil rights.”
Mixner says many scholars don’t think the Obama administration needed to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which states that states don’t have to accept same sex marriages from other states. Some disagree. But “to a person, they say that the response is way out of line, totally unnecessary and goes far beyond anything required. They all agree that if the Department of Justice felt they had to respond, a simple, few-paged brief on the very limited issue before the Federal Court would have been all that was necessary.”
The brief, Mixner argues, “undercuts every conceivable argument that the LGBT community would use to fight for the repeal of DOMA. Right-wing nut cases can now just simply quote horrible stuff from this hateful brief and proclaim loudly it was filed by the Obama Justice Department.”
For that reason, Mixner withdrew his support from the DNC fundraiser.
As did big Democratic gay donors Andy Towle and Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda and Foundation.
Aravosis is mad, criticizing "this rather ill-timed and inappropriate Democratic effort to milk money from our community at the same time Democrats are equating us with incest and not lifting a finger on any of our legislation priorities in Congress or the White House. It's not awfully clear why any gay person would give a Democrat a dime ever again.”
Posted by hello little girl on January 9, 2012 at 12:44 PM · Report this
Stacy in Austin 17
Please tell me you're kidding when you say "[...] let's all cross our fingers and hope that one (or more!) of Santorum's kids is gay", because obviously any gay kid of his would be going through absolute hell. It's well and good to hope that he would rise above his prejudice and actually love that kid, but the odds of that happening are vanishingly small. You know it, I know it, and everyone in the fucking world knows it. It's a terrible thing to wish on any child who made the grave mistake of springing from the loins of the Santorum family.
Posted by Stacy in Austin on January 9, 2012 at 1:05 PM · Report this
@8 - You're a sick fuck who really should Google the HIV transmission rate of heterosexuals. There's a lot more of you out there spreading that around than us. Get your fuck'n facts straight you asstard.

"...heterosexual intercourse is now responsible for 70-80% of all HIV transmissions worldwide." – Nancy Padian, PhD…
Posted by The fag on January 9, 2012 at 1:37 PM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 19
@11/14: Surprisingly, the official position of the Catholic Church bans gays from the priesthood:…

As Lewis Black put it, "Why is it so important that the sex a priest ISN'T having, be with a woman?"
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on January 9, 2012 at 2:09 PM · Report this
Noadi 20
@18 Of course he's a sick fuck, he seems to be compelled to troll every post Dan makes with insults and homophobia. He's not even that creative a troll.
Posted by Noadi on January 9, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
Isn't Santorum running on a state's rights platform? Isn't that what he was saying about contraception - that the states should be able to make their own laws regarding the legality of contraception? So, why is he then wanting to overturn/over-ride the states that have already decided that same-sex marriage and/or same-sex adoption is legal? If he were consistent, he would be OK with those states that have already legalized these relationships. It was their decision, according to him, so why is he so hot to change that? Could it be because they didn't do what he thinks is "best for our society"? So, in Santorum's world, the Constitution allows for states to legislate many personal matters (without regard to any right of privacy), but only if they do what he wants them to do. If they don't do as he wants them to do, well that's when those Federal rights trump states' rights. Wow! This man's philosophy of governing is capretious and terrifying.

And for those who are chiding Dan for running so many Santorum posts since Sanny's almost victory in Iowa: You underestimate your enemy at your own perile. How many of us thought there was NO WAY Bush II would be elected (and yes, I agree he wasn't actually elected but selected by the SCOTUS), and how many of us thought there was NO WAY he could get re-elected in 2004. Until Santorum hangs his head in defeat, we need to keep on him. It's too dangerous, considering his insane view on life, religion, it's role in government, and his philosophy of governing.

Now, if the press would only do their fucking job and actually ask the candidates the hard questions and not accepting those lame answers without further questioning. The press used to give us the truth about what was going on out there. Now they just tell us everybody else's opinion, even if there is an actualy truth out there. It is sad to see.

And for all of you Obama bashers out there: Has he done the best job? No, but he has been trying to be a president for everybody, not just the lefties who elected him, and his attempts to work with Republicans, to include them in his policy plans, were met with total and complete obstruction, which has made it difficult for him to get any bills passed. He has been trying to heal this country after the distasterous Bush years, and according to expert economists, considering the damage W and his friends did to our economy, we shouldn't expect to fully recover for at least 5-10 years. YEARS! As a society, our need for instant gratification is affecting our overall ability to look at things in the long-term and vote accordingly.

And as for gay rights, Obama may not be the ideal, but he did repeal DADT, and even with the DOJ DOMA problem, Obama is still light years better than any of the Repub candidates on gay rights.

And finally, as Dan keeps reminding us straight people, the likes of Santorum are not just going after those "gays". No, he is coming for all of our sexual/reproductive freedoms, including contraception and the right to have sex however you like (as long as it's between consenting adults). In a Santorum world, nobody has any right to privacy, regardless of your sexual orientation. So, if your heterosexual man enjoys being pegged by you, a heterosexual woman, you better hope that the Santorum police won't burst in while you are pegging the shit out of him and arrest you both for sodomy. This is the world Santorum (and probably most of the Republican candidates, exept for Ron Paul) thinks is "best for society." Freaking terrifying.

Keep up the good fight, Dan!
Posted by SherBee on January 9, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
@21, you beat me to it. Indeed, I think this is a question that should be addressed directly to Mr Santorum: If he is so happy with states' rights for contraception, why be against them for marriage equality?
Posted by ankylosaur on January 9, 2012 at 2:33 PM · Report this

In this country more than 60% of all AIDS occurs among the 2% of the population that is gay.....
Posted by sorry the truth hurts your widdy biddy feewings on January 9, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this

gawd you're ugly....
Posted by please don't moon the slog on January 9, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
I'm a little leery of your gleeful hope that one (or more!) of Santorum's kids are gay. I know it isn't a terribly likely sequence of events, but imagine a scenario where one of his kids is in fact gay, and things turn out tragically for that person...wouldn't you feel kind of shitty?

Sure, Rick would feel even worse, and it would be a teaching moment for his party, or even the nation, and blah blah blah...but I'm wary about creating any kind of perception that Dan would be anything but horrified by such a scenario.
Posted by Functional Atheist on January 9, 2012 at 2:47 PM · Report this
What an excellent and important article, Dan. Looking at his past comments, Santorum would "love [a gay son] as much as I did the second before he said it" by sending him to NoMoHomo rehab and coughing up phlegm like "love the sinner, not the sin."

I disagree with the person who said you spent a lot of time covering someone who probably isn't going to win the nom. In terms of politics, Santorum is young. If he's this close to the presidency now, you can bet he won't be going away anytime soon. People need to remember that this guy's opinions are extremely dangerous. Santorum should not be allowed to act like the rocks he has continually thrown at civil rights issues were actually harmless balloons.
Posted by Sara L Ch on January 9, 2012 at 5:31 PM · Report this
Don't the Santorums have six living children? The odds are decent that one of them is gay. I remember reading about a pair of Hijra in India who were mistreated. One said that she wished the man were dead, the other said, "I hope your wife or sister or mother has a Hijra child!"

But then, which one was it? Gingrich whose daughter is gay?
Posted by DRF on January 9, 2012 at 7:56 PM · Report this
HelpMeJebus 28

Thank you for consistently linking Rick Santorum's name to The Official Rick Santorum website. Clearly the public needs to know all about Rick Santorum, and all of his antiquated and philistine positions. Rick Santorum has a tough road ahead, especially when more Americans come to learn what Rick Santorum really stands for.
Posted by HelpMeJebus on January 9, 2012 at 8:43 PM · Report this
Agreed with what others have said--one of Santorum's kids being gay would be just deserts for Santorum, but it would be terrible for that kid. I hope none of them are.

@27--I don't think one of Gingrich's kids is gay, but his sister Candace is. And Dick Cheney has a lesbian daughter; not coincidentally, he supports gay marriage, at least at the state level.
Posted by Brett Alan on January 9, 2012 at 10:12 PM · Report this
At least Mother Jones is questioning this "love":…
Posted by JPT on January 10, 2012 at 12:31 AM · Report this
**Because religious conservatives have a very different ideas about "loving" their gay children. Rightwing Christian groups advise the parents of LBGT children to reject their gay children, to be actively hostile, to "love the sinner, hate the sin," to withhold approval, to refuse to meet the partners of their gay children, to refuse to attend their gay children's weddings, etc. And these Christian groups tell the parents of gay children that hostility, rejection, disapproval are the how they best express their "love" for their gay children.**

This needs to be illustrated more to the general public. Our fearless (ahem) press corps lets people like Santorum get away with their "I would love my son," "respect" pablum, and no one draws attention to how these wingers are speaking on the subject to one another.

But then, the only journalists who called out Santorum on his outrageous "blah people" lie are bloggers or on Comedy Central, so fat chance.
Posted by cleopatra1 on January 10, 2012 at 6:50 AM · Report this
What I don't get is the cognitive dissonances between Santorum's rhetoric and his response to the question about a gay son.

Go with me here - if he's sincere about his prejudices against gay people, and sincerely wants to make them second class citizens in the eye of the law, then his response to the gay son question should be consistent with that - he should say something like he'd be full of sorrow that his son was a sinner, that he'd cut off all contact with him, that he'd drive him out of their home - righteously!

If he's sincere that he'd love his son the same and try to be a good father to him - then he's either saying "OK for me but not for thee" to the rest of the population, or - frankly - the whole anti-gay thing is feigned political theatre intended to enthrall the very worst and bigoted elements of our society.

If he really has some kind of deeply rooted anti-gay sentiment, yet when contemplating a gay son he knows it wouldn't change his love - then he HAS to reconsider his prejudices. Unless he's a politically expedient liar.

he's despicable.
Posted by glennw on January 10, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Stacy in Austin 33
@32- he may be despicable, but not for this reason. He claims to be a devout Christian. Love the sinenr, hate the sin. He'd say the same thing if his son was a murdering, adulterous, mixed-fiber wearing shrimp-eating shrimper as he would if he found out his son was a filthy sodomite- he'd love him, forgive him, and he would try to do everything he could to be as good a father to him as possible (which might involved Biblically-approved beatings). So by his own philosphy he's not lying.
Posted by Stacy in Austin on January 11, 2012 at 9:12 AM · Report this

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